The Golden Carrot Newsletter's Archive


January 2008


Happy New Year folks!


I was trying to put together a newsletter for 2008 when Daphmar died. (Please see the website in the next few days for more photos of Jill and Daphmar’s last day together). It’s not a happy new year for me here, as so much I’ve tried to do hasn’t worked out. I kept hoping for some good news, but so far .... This is where we’re at:


Unfortunately, the placement for Star did not work out. It turns out, as it so often does, that people lie to get what they want. Although I had recommendations for Darlene’s experience from a person I trusted, as well as claims of experience and commitment from Darlene herself, the fact is she has almost no experience, and was completely unwilling to either ask for help, or work through some things she thought were Star’s issues. Despite assuring me, and Sandy that everything was "fine" and that Star was doing well every single week of the three weeks she kept Star, Darlene called me on Sunday, only 3 days after our last conversation when all was ‘great’, to tell me Star "has to go". Supposedly Star kicked her when she crept up behind Star while Star was eating, Saturday night, and when she DID IT AGAIN on Sunday morning, and now, she "has a bruise". The horse people reading this will be laughing madly at this point. For one thing, you just don’t creep up on horses who are eating. The best horse in the world will probably at least threaten, and I suspect Star did before whacking this girl in exasperation. But Darlene knew that Star was either in a small pen by herself, or in a crowded corral with other horses, goats, pigs, llamas, cows etc., all competing for the same feed, for at least at year. Horses that have to learn to compete for food will always be ‘tetchy’. Why wouldn’t you just say "Hi Star", and let her know you’re coming? And a bruise??? For god’s sake. Who can be around horses without getting bruised, kicked, shoved, knocked down and stepped on? And Darlene on this date claimed that all along, Star was difficult for her to handle. Wouldn’t take a blanket, went crazy when the other two mares were let out of their pens without her, was hard on them when she was let out with them, and altogether caused a ruckus. None of which she had mentioned to me on the three times we spoke or to Sandy. And at no time did she ask for help or advice on how to handle these supposed problems.


At any rate, although she promised to take care of Star until I could find another home, or worst case build a stall here to house her, she and her daddy (remember, this girl was 23 years old, employed and just boarding the horse on her dad’s property) wanted Star gone. Sandy moved Star to her friend’s place (and by the way, Star loaded into the trailer in 15 minutes - I don’t think she wanted to be there either), and a couple of weeks later I was able to travel north to pick her up (when she loaded into the trailer in about 2 minutes). So, rather than a good placement, I now have another mouth to feed. Star was thrilled to see Mr. Happy Grump, with whom she’d lived at Norco Animal Shelter, and has been terrific for us. She takes a blanket without problems. She leads with a grip on her mane, or a rope around her neck. She picks up her feet with no protest and allowed me to doctor a big cut on her foreleg with a minimum of fuss. A friend of mine recently wrote me too, with the following interesting tidbit:

I was at a Christmas party given by my good friend Anne..she works for Mike Williams DVM at Norco Equine.. I mentioned you..saying you had picked up Star at the Shelter..he smiled and said..OH Star..what a cool horse she is..I told him about the loading ordeal..he couldn’t believe it..then I told him how that girl told you that Star "kicked" her..he said that was an out and out that Star had NEVER EVER even attempted to do ANYTHING of the sort..and he was familiar with her after caring for her at the shelter.

So. Bottom line, Star is here. I have a possible placement for her. I have yet to ride her to see what her training is, as I wanted her to have some time to adjust, and for her leg to heal, and then we had the big rains. But if she’s a good ride, I’m hoping this prospective home will work out, and I’ll keep you posted.

I also placed two horses, an elderly blind 35 year old Morgan mare (Mindy) and her constant companion, a 17 year old Arab gelding (Majestic). But a mere 3 weeks later, poor Mindy is dead. After a very quick inspection, the same vet who gave her a clean bill of health only one week earlier claimed she was having a stroke and recommended putting her down. This tough mare had experienced the exact same thing with her original owner, and pretty much pulled through on her own. It sounds to me like she might have had a seizure. But with her previous owner, she was given time to get through it and rest, so she got up and lived on quite well. It’s always hard to second guess the person on the scene. But from hearing she was down, to hearing she’d been put down, was one hour. It broke my heart, as I know from bitter experience how eager vets can be to put down elderly horses. I am so blessed with Dr. Zadick, who understands my lack of funds, but also my desire to give these older horses a chance to survive. He tells me when there is no hope; but he will work with me if I ask. Like children, animals need us to speak up for them, stand up for them, and go the extra mile to help them. They are helpless in our world.


Along with Star, I’d like to place Majestic with that family I mentioned. Two girls, 14 and 11, with show jumping experience, who need a couple of nice horses to hack around their dad’s ranch in SD county. Whether the home I put Majestic and Mindy in will let him go, I don’t know. But he’s young enough to need at least a little bit of a life, and having a new lady friend will probably make him happy too. I’ll keep you posted.

I mentioned in my last newsletter an Arab/Andalusian horse I wanted to place, and what a ridiculous story I have to report there. When I spoke to the owner, I started to ask the usual questions so I would have information to post. But she assured me she’d created a flier which would have all necessary information, and she’d email that to me. She did, and I posted it without looking at it. O yes, it had a lot of info on the horse, including that she was "gray" which you could see from the photo. But there was no contact information for the owner! So of course, for that horse I got about a billion calls. I recommended that they attempt to contact the registry for the horse to see if they could get the owner’s information, but that’s all I could do. Cassie, however, was lovely and young, and I’m willing to bet she was easily placed.


And sadly, I never receive any calls or emails about ET and Queimada; or sweet Isabella. I also have another arab mare looking for a home, 24 year old Mina, who I will have posted soon. She’s sound, but her owner lives in New Zealand. Although 24 sounds scary, with a well cared for Arabian mare, you can still be looking at several years of usefulness, and of course she’d be a great companion horse or pasture pet. As I’ve told a lot of ‘know it alls’ tho, California doesn’t have a lot of people looking for companion animals, and often those who do merely want to have two old horses languishing neglected in a pasture with no shelter, rather than one lonely one. So many more horses looking for homes, than reasonable homes looking for horses.


So my efforts to place horses has been a great disappointment. Whether the horses are old, or young; sound or mildly disabled, doesn’t seem to make a difference. People don’t pay attention, and somehow expect horses to be "perfect", without any effort on their own part. I think what they really need is an ATV. Education continues to be at the top of my list of reforms necessary to solve the problems people see coming from the end of slaughter. (End of breeding excesses, and some sort of subsidies for legitimate rescues are the other two).

And the last of the bad news is that through the good graces of SaveTheHorses, I was given the opportunity, if I could get to Brawley to pick it up and bring it home, to buy grass hay at $7 a bale. (I pay $13 a bale now) But, the trip would only make sense if I could buy at least 40-50 bales, and I can’t carry that much on my truck. Plus I’d need help to load it. Dang. My neighbor has a truck and trailer that could easily haul it, but has been very busy. And then the loss of Daphmar used up my last $500, between doctor visit, medications, special feed, and disposal costs. This is where being the sole person here, and operating on such a short shoestring, can really be a disadvantage for the horses. I did hope that one sponsor, who sends an annual amount for her sponsored horse, might send her payment; but she’s not responded to emails and at least once, took almost 4 months to send the sponsorship check. You know how it is, you never get the money when you really need it! 


I’m pretty down. Although Christmas season was pretty good this year, particularly thanks to one donor who has had such a terrible year herself, I can barely believe she remembered us at all, it’s always up and down here at TGC, and right now, we’re "down". Saying no to one horse after another hurts me more than I can say; and trying to place good horses is turning out to be painfully difficult. I have a core of people who do their best to help, and I cherish you folks. But believe me, for every one of you, there are 200 jerks in the world, throwing away a good horse for trivial self-centered reasons. Sometimes I wonder if it makes sense to keep trying. But I look in the eyes of my equine friends, and know that I would do anything to help them .... and I know each horse out there deserves the same. So I’ve renewed my resolution to keep helping, and hope I can count on you to help when and how you can - this is a cause worth supporting, these fourlegged people deserve our help, and truly appreciate it.


My best wishes to all of you for a happy and prosperous 2008 - and I extend an invitation to any of you who can make it to come visit us this year. See how you’re helping, look into those same eyes that I look in every day - and hay, if you’re up for it, have a ride! Tell your friends, family and co-workers about the need here; get your church together to come visit; bring the kids - if you give me some warning, I’ll help put together a BBQ as we did for the third-grade class that visited last April (pics on the website). The horses love company, and a chance to say thank you for your support!

Casey O